The Bar Council of India (BCI) has decided to scrap the Master Degree Course in Law of one-year duration introduced in India in 2013.
As per the notification of January 2 issued by BCI Legal Education (Post Graduate, Doctoral, Executive, Vocational, Clinical and other Continuing Education) Rules, 2020, the postgraduate course Master’s degree (LLM) has to be of two years.
According to the rules, a Master’s degree in any specialized branch of Law offered in the Open System to any graduate, such as Business Law or Human Right, or International Trade Law without having LL.B./BA.LLB as the requisite entry level qualification shall not be designated as LL.M.
The Bar Council has also proposed a new entrance test named Post Graduate Common Entrance Test in Law (PGCETL) for admission to master’s legal programs. These were part of the BCI’s Bar Council of India Legal Education (Post-Graduate, Doctoral, Executive, Vocational, Clinical and other Continuing Education), Rules, 2020, which were notified on January 2.
“Bar Council of India (either directly or through its Trust) may annually conduct a Post Graduate Common Entrance Test in Law (PGCETL) for admission in Master Degree course in Law in all Universities and until the PGCETL is introduced, the present system followed by respective Universities shall be followed. Once the BCI introduces PGCETL it shall be mandatory to admit the students from the merit list of the Test,”
the Rule states.
The new post graduate programme course based on PGCETL is expected to begin from September though the dates for PGCETL entrance exams have not been released.
The notification also made it compulsory to have a three-year or five-year LLB for taking admission to LLM course. “As per the Rules, a Master’s degree in any specialized branch of Law offered in the Open System to any graduate, such as Business Law or Human Right, or International Trade Law without having LLB/BA LLB as the requisite entry-level qualification shall not be designated as LLM.
Besides LL.M, the Rules also prescribe the conditions to be satisfied to offer an LL.M course including student-teacher ratio not exceeding 1:10 and maximum student strength of 20 in each branch of the specialization subject to a maximum of 50 students’ overall in the LL.M program of the institution.